Sneak peek at the V&A's new Photography Centre

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The V&A’s new Photography Centre will open in Autumn 2018, and the institution has now released a CGI render of what will be one of its showcase spaces – The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery.
Named after The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation, the Photography Centre’s first major supporter, this gallery will be one of the biggest in the new centre – which will be made up of “a suite of spectacular rooms”, according to the V&A. Equipped with a modular system of display cases and a climate-controlled environment, The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery will be used to show off both archive and contemporary work, and objects such as cameras and publications as well as prints.
The Photography Centre is being designed by David Kohn Architects, and Phase One of the project will more than double the V&A’s photography display space by Autumn 2018. Phase Two will add more gallery space, a teaching and research facility, a browsing library, and a studio and darkroom for photographers’ residencies. Further design details and new visuals will be released later this year.
The new centre comes as the V&A transfers the Royal Photographic Society’s collection from the Science Museum Group, which was formerly held in the National Media Museum in Bradford – a move which has proved controversial with those who arguing it exacerbates the London-centric focus in British arts and funding.
The transfer adds over 270,000 photographs, 26,000 publications, and 6000 pieces of equipment to the V&A’s holdings, already one of the largest and most important in the world with around 500,000 works collected since the foundation of the museum in 1852. Purpose-built storage facilities will house the V&A’s expanded holdings, and an extensive project to digitise the RPS collection is now underway; while not on display, prints can be accessed in the V&A’s Prints & Drawings Study Room by appointment on Tuesday – Friday.

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy